Monica & David Reviews
As Monica's mother says "Because we want to protect them so much, we are typically the first ones who treat them poorly by subconsciously denying them their rights to have a normal life".
David's mother knows he wants to work, she knows he's capable, but she "wouldn't want him to have to associate with society".
Monica's mother wants to keep them with her because " the thought of Monica or David running across anyone who would so much as look at them the wrong way drives me crazy."
And unfortunately, society lives up to the families fears most of the time. It only sees difference and it fears difference.
It sees disability and can't see past it to ability.
Film maker Alexandra Codino is Monica's cousin. She "wanted the world to see Monica the way I did- an intelligent, sensitive and nuanced woman", and that's what we see: an intelligent, sensitive and nuanced woman marrying her soul mate and equal, and enjoying their first year together.
If you want to see a doco about disabled people, watch something else. This one's about ability.
Why did this need filmed? That was my original question. The director is Monica's cousin. The opening of the movie shows life expectancies from 1983 and now...about three times longer these days. From that, I thought the film would take the approach that people with Down's are just like the rest of us. Fortunately, it did not.
I'm actually torn on how to review this. I am a biology fundamentalist of sorts, though an uneducated one, but also value civility. It is clear to me that Monica and David do not have great intellectual capacities. The film did not argue with this, and Monica's mom actually says near the start that Monica will do/like whatever she suggests. This is a move toward confirming my belief that Down's have an idea of what's going on around them, they just aren't as fast or able to think for themselves. This theme is prevalent in the movie from Monica struggling to adjust to her routine, to David's diabetes, and some observations made Monica's mom. So whereas I think it goes against nature of sorts to live until 60 with Down's - in no other species I can think of would a deformity like this work that way - I certainly think we have improved on the treatment of disabilities. It's scary to think what would have happened just 20-30 years ago. Even when Monica was born, the doctor allegedly walked in and told her mom she gave birth to a mongoloid, then walked out. That's pretty fucked up.
So I thought this movie might exploit Monica and David...make them poster children for what Down's can be. Instead, even though the family is successful enough to take care of the couple's every need, that is not the picture painted. It is made clear that even this adorable couple cannot be independent. It is also made clear that even the patience of a loving mom sometimes wears thin. Admittedly, her entire life revolves around the pair. It's definitely admirable, and what Monica's mom has done her entire life kind of makes her a hero.
In the end, I think the most ironic thing is that the marriage of Monica and David seems more likely to last than most marriages. Why? Marriage is very complex, and "normal" people have a tendency towards drama. Even the "normals" don't have the capacity to work together. Oddly enough, the simple world in which Monica and David live probably make them an ideal couple. I think it's more of a friendship - the terms of endearment and such just seem like a conditioning of how a couple is supposed to act - but they seem happy and that works for me. And even if the wedding, the documentary, and the whole shebang are more gratifying to everyone but Monica and David, there's nothing wrong with creating happiness.